Report finds board composition, key information, strategic vision, and understanding external forces key to success

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Dr. Elaine ​Eisenman , Babson Dean of Executive Education, is among the coauthors and commission members behind the WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation’s Thought Leadership Commission and the KPMG Board Leadership Center report— Seeing Far and Seeing Wide: Moving Toward a Visionary Board .

According to WomenCorporateDirectors, recommendations in the report include:

  • Getting board composition right – Does your board have the skill sets and experiences required to move the company forward? Do the board members represent a broad perspective through diversity of expertise, industry, and experience in key geographies, gender, ethnicity, and generations?
  • Gathering key information – Is the board hearing a balanced view about the company from management? Does the board consider a wide range of viewpoints, from employees in the field and customers to industry analysts, investors, and local communities?
  • Bringing strategic vision to the boardroom – Is the board agenda flexible, while keeping strategy and related factors front and center? How does the board consider succession planning and talent beyond the CEO? Are the board dynamics healthy and free of biases that might impact clear decision-making?
  • Understanding external forces – How does the board communicate with investors, leverage technology, and evaluate social and environmental factors in striving toward becoming and remaining truly visionary?

Eisenman is a founding member, member of the advisory board, and Boston chapter co-chair of the WomenCorporateDirectors. The report was presented at a panel at the WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation Global Institute in New York City on May 4, 2016.

The Report

Drawing on many decades of diverse experiences and insights from within boardrooms, the WomenCorporateDirectors Foundation’s Thought Leadership Commission and the KPMG Board Leadership Center have produced a new report: Seeing Far and Seeing Wide: Moving Toward A Visionary Board. This paper explores what it takes to build a visionary board of directors – from bringing together the right voices to timely recognizing changes on the horizon to ensuring that management is set up for success.

When aspiring toward “visionary,” every board starts in a different place: some are already highly effective and looking to become more future-focused and expansive in their perspective, while others have significant work to do as they progress toward effectiveness.

This report is designed so that every director, no matter where his or her board is along this path, can find lessons and practical suggestions to help the board on this journey.

Dr. Elaine Eisenman

Dr. Elaine J. Eisenman is Dean of Executive Education at Babson College, the number one school in the world for entrepreneurship education. In this role, she is responsible for the strategy and growth of this top rated executive education division, as well as for all non-degree programs in entrepreneurship. She is also responsible for the management of 211 bed award-winning Babson Executive Conference Center.

Eisenman has served on public company boards since 1996, including DSW, Inc, Harvard Vanguard Health Associates, Atrius Health Compensation Committee, United States Tobacco board, Qwalify, a Canadian start-up, several private companies, including Active International and HRLogic, and several family businesses. She is a founding member and member of the Board of Women Corporate Directors.

In 2011, she was selected by Agenda Magazine as a top 100 Diversity Board Member, and in 2012 she was named a “Director to Watch” by Directors and Boards magazine.

Eisenman has held senior executive positions at both public companies such as American Express, Enhance Financial Services Co., and The Children’s Place, and private companies such as PDI International, a global consulting firm, where she both built and was general manager of the Northeast region, and Management & Capital Partners, a retained executive recruitment, management consulting, and venture capital firm, where she was chairman.

About Babson Executive and Enterprise Education

Babson Executive and Enterprise Education is a dynamic learning laboratory, where clients, faculty, staff, and partners work together to address real-world business challenges and create and capitalize on opportunities for their clients. With roots in Entrepreneurial Thought & Action ®​ , it dev­elops the lead­ers that compa­nies need most: those who can cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties, en­vis­ion and nav­i­gate change, accom­modate ambi­guity, sur­mount com­plex­ity, and moti­vate teams in a com­mon pur­pose to grow organ­i­za­tions and create eco­nom­ic and social value. Babson Executive and Enterprise Education solutions include, custom programs designed and delivered to meet clients’ unique needs;open enrollment programs that develop individuals and teams in focused areas; thought leadership through a monthly webinar series and thought-provoking newsletters like Babson Insight; and blended and e-learning to complement the classroom experience.

About Babson College

Babson College is the educator, convener, and thought leader for​ Entrepreneurship of All Kinds ®​ ​. The top​-rankedcollege for entrepreneurship education, Babson is a dynamic living and learning laboratory where students, faculty, and staff work together to address the real-world problems of business and society. We prepare the entrepreneurial leaders our world needs most: those with strong functional knowledge and the skills and vision to navigate change, accommodate ambiguity, surmount complexity, and motivate teams in a common purpose to make a difference in the world, and have an impact on organizations of all sizes and types. As we have for nearly a half-century, Babson continues to advance Entrepreneurial Thought & Action ®​ as the most positive force on the planet for generating sustainable economic and social value.​

By Shannon Sweeny, ssweeny1@babson.edu, (781) 239-4621 | 05/10/2016 02:00